Improving the interpretation of bone marrow imaging in cancer patients

L. Ollivier, S. Gerber, D. Vanel, H. Brisse, J. Leclère

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the best technique for bone marrow imaging. The MRI signal of bone marrow depends on the quantity of fat it contains and on its cellularity. Evaluation of marrow of patients treated for cancer is complicated by age and osseous site related changes in the distribution of normal haematopoietic (red) and fatty (yellow) marrow and by the changes induced by treatments: decrease in pathological cellularity, increase in fat proportion, conversion of red marrow to fatty marrow or, conversely, reconversion of fatty marrow in normal haematopoietic red marrow. The treatments used in oncology modify pathological marrow but also normal marrow and may sometimes lead to complications. These modifications may be focal or diffuse, homogeneous or patchy and symmetrical or asymmetric. The knowledge of bone marrow physiological status and post-therapeutic patterns is important for the interpretation of marrow disorders and effects of therapy and to avoid false-positive diagnosis of marrow metastases and tumour progression. The aim of this paper is to recall the MRI patterns of normal bone marrow and normal variations and to show the effects of treatments on bone tissue and normal bone marrow and treatment-related modifications on pathological marrow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-198
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Imaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Bone marrow
  • Cancer therapy
  • Diagnostic imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Medicine(all)


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